Sunday, October 30, 2011

Blue eyes and a billy goat

I’m pretty sure these are the prettiest girls I’ve ever seen.

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Poor Molly was sicker than a dog today. She threw up once and went to bed early of her own accord, which never happens. I wanted to take a picture of her feeling sick. I held the camera up and she instantly put a smile on and ruined the whole picture. I mean, come on, she doesn’t look that sick does she?

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How can these girls spawn from the billy goat below. I tried to grow a beard for Halloween but it was so itchy I had to quit a week early. At least I proved I can grow facial hair.billygoat 019

I sure hope Ringo takes after his mothers side of the family. If not he has a long road of declining looks and increased body hair ahead of him. billygoat 027

Polly fighting to go to bed. I tried distracting her with a camera. It just ended up blinding us with the flash and she still ended up screaming for an hour as she fought for all she’s worth to stay up.billygoat 023

Dormer and porch progress

Here are the pictures I promised from this weekend. We are really happy with the dormer. It’s a lovely view and hopefully will be a great meeting spot inside for the family.

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Milly and I sat and discussed for about 3 hours on how to do the dormer and then decided to wait for Gus to come down. It was a wise decision. The dormer doesn’t look too difficult now that it’s up but I’m sure we’d still be discussing (arguing) about where to start.

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Milly and Greybeard hard at work on the deck.

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We almost got done the gable end. It’s not shown in this picture but you can see the 3 ft overhangs pretty nicely here.

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We are concerned a bit with the overhang vrs the distance the overhangs go in on the trusses. We are told they are supposed to go in about the same distance they go out. As you can see they only go in 2 ft but go out 3 ft.

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There is a pool going for people betting how long our untreated, unadulterated, strait spruce porch will last. Gus and his crew think 5 years. There’s no way they’d do anything but treated lumber on a deck. We’ve thought long and hard about it and just can’t bring ourselves to use treated lumber. I’d rather replace the deck in a few years then have my kids rolling around on the stuff that prevents rotting. I know they say ACQ is good for all that ails you but I just don’t believe what the experts are selling.

IMG_1325  Maybe we can do an experiment on the effect of weather on untreated lumber. I’ll take a picture of our porch every 6 months and we’ll see how long it lasts. Of course there will be an overhanging porch going up soon so hopefully that helps a bit.porch

Gus made Milly feel happy at the end of the day by declaring “this place is really well proportioned especially considering the fact you don’t even have real plans.” Ha.

Milly has spent countless hours drawing up plan after plan on graph paper and Barnabas has spent untold hours listening to us describe what we think the place should look like.

Hopefully it continues to work out.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Not only am I a wuss but I’m old as well

I have pictures somewhere of our house but I’m too sore and tired to go get the camera. We are sitting by the fireplace and recovering from a frantic couple of days of working from dawn till long after dusk. I think I’m getting to old for this.

I had Gus and his crew down the latter half of the week and he helped put together our dormer and gable end wall. In between us shooting the breeze and throwing sheeting off the top of the roof for old times sake (it was around 100 km winds today so those sheets pretty well ended up in Saskatchewan) we actually got a lot done.

It started out like we were destined to sit around a fire cooking hotdogs all day but none the less we persevered and somehow got the gable end wall up and looking fairly straight.

I only had one injury today. I just so happen to shoot a nail into my fore finger. Gus told me about 10,000 times not to use the air nailer the way I was so when I shot myself I just winced and bit my tongue. No way was I going to prove him right on what an uncoordinated, unskilled, and completely useless helper I was. It only bled a wee little bit although I did leave a red trail on quite a few trusses for a while. I hope my tetanus shots are up to date.

The deck is almost done as well thanks to Milly and Greybeard. It looks fabulous. I’m pretty impressed with Milly’s building skills. I’ve never known her to be a construction worker but she’s totally a master builder now.

This whole house building process has been one of the most painful experiences we have gone through together but we are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. We think. I can hardly wait to have just one day of relaxation without feeling the pressure to get things done before we have no place to stay for the winter.

We were supposed to have another crew come in on Monday and sheet the place but they are telling us they are a week behind (or two) so we are stuck working on the place ourselves for a while longer. We are just hoping our luck keeps holding on with the weather. Just a couple more weeks and we will have the place sheeted and the tin put on. We hope. (Any of you know anyone that puts on sheeting and tin around our part of the woods?)

Next up is putting up the over hanging roof off of the wrap around deck. We’ve never built anything like that before but how hard can it be?

I’ll find that camera tomorrow and maybe post a few pictures if I can walk tomorrow. This is what happens when you pretend to be young and smart when you are actually old and stupid.

Monday, October 24, 2011

I’m a wuss

Over the past couple of days I’ve failed at a several manly challenges in which I’m not to proud to admit. First challenge centered around reading the classic novel “Where the Red Fern Grows” to Ringo. The book is one of my favorites but I knew I was going to have trouble at the end reading out loud without blubbering and wailing.

Sure enough, it took me an hour and a half to read the final ten pages of the book. Ringo sat there and quite patiently made funny faces and I snorted and bawled while trying to choke out the events line by line.

Secondly, we had a children’s presentation at our church and Ringo and Molly both had parts to present. Just as Ringo was giving his talk I started to well up with tears. Elvis and Shorty came to show support and I looked over at Elvis to gain strength and there he was crying like a baby as well. At least now you know where I get the water works from.

Lastly, today as an old friend from high school posted a question on Facebook, I found myself responding to her inquiry as to what to do with spaghetti squash. I thought how feminine it was for me to be giving pointers on the finer art of cooking squash. It’s one thing to be swapping recipes with my sisters but it’s an entirely new level to be gabbing about baking squash with butter and brown sugar.

So there you have it. I’m a officially a wuss.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Building a deck

After being scolded by Gus about the way we are doing things I decided to follow his advice and finish all the level surfaces first so we had level ground to work off of. We spent the past few days getting our deck together.

It’s amazing how tuff it really is to get a beam straight and the right height.

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We bought rough cut fir 6x6 inch post and are going to put those up as pillars. We cut smaller pieces and made them the support for the beam. We thought about putting them up and running the beam in front of or behind or in the middle of the posts but decided to do it this way. The pillars will then sit on the beam and hopefully that will be solid enough to withstand our ferocious winds here.

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We’ve been working late as it gets dark around 7 pm now. We’ve started our volcano oven up and had it for a heat source. We took a picture of Greybeard by the fire looking like a hobo. He’s sitting on a tar bucket warming his patsies.

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Milly gets the first crack at standing on the deck. Hopefully we’ll have the deck done in the next few days. Once we got the beam in place the rest has really fallen into place.deck 033blog

At least now Gus can’t yell at me for doing all this building stuff completely backwards.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Backfilling the basement

I got another turn to use the shovel. We needed to backfill around our house before we put on our deck so had Penelope’s father in law come over with his pay loader and dump a bunch of clay around the place.

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I’m glad I didn’t do it by hand. This baby holds 2.5 yards of dirt for every scoop.

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We had him dig out one of our dugouts thinking it would be mostly clay but found it was mostly pit run. Meaning there is a lot of gravel and rocks mixed in. Milly was concerned by the mixture of gravel compared to clay. However, after many consultations with a wide variety of experts we decided to smooth it out, pack it down, and put on the deck.

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Gus came down and helped me with the gable end. He’s a professional builder and cussed at me for two days for doing things all backward. But we did get something accomplished. The gable end on the East is up. Now we just have to finish the West side and dormer.

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We went down to do the dormer tonight but after much confusion and deliberation we decided to wait until we could Google to find out how to put the dang thing together.

I’m sure most builders do the same thing right?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Another reason dad should not dress the kids

Need I say more.

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Climbing Turtle Mountain in Crowsnest Pass

As I’ve indicated before I volunteer as an 11 year old scoutmaster for our local Boy Scout organization. I like the 11 year old scouts the best as they still kind of think your cool. Also, when you go on activities it’s usually the first time they’ve done anything like that so it’s the best camp/hike/time they’ve ever had.

Another reason I like the 11 year old scouts. They are still young enough to miss their mom and dad. Often when they get dropped off at an activity they still hug and sometimes kiss their parent goodbye. Too bad it only takes a year or two for them to forget all that niceness. ha.

Here are the photo’s and recap from our camp and hike.

We crammed into my old Intrepid. I pray every day that this car will just last another year. I’ve been saying that prayer for 5 years now so I guess it must be working. We started off the activity with radio blasting and kids yelling.

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Got to our campsite late and had to put the tents up in the dark. If you are travelling from Pincher Creek, the Lundbreck Falls provincial campground is a great place to camp. And it’s only about 20 minutes from the base of Turtle mountain.

I tell the scouts I’m not their mother and let them figure things out with putting up their tent etc. It usually takes about 2 hours for the tent to get fully setup. These wonderful scouts did it in less than an hour. Not bad for newbie scouts.

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I treated everyone to some A&W and we had some fun around the campfire.

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The scouts made their own breakfast. All three of them came with like a 5 course meal. My breakfast is the can of chilli on the grill. I sure am glad I’m not a bachelor anymore. My assistant is still a bachelor and his meal was ravioli in a can. Ladies, better snatch him up while you can. Good guys like him don’t come along everyday.

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One scout even brought a mechanism to make toast. Here he is making sausages.camp 071

Here’s what  a boy scout camp table looks like. I sure it’s just a little bit messier than the girl scouts. You can see the toaster contraption on the table if you look close.

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Although one scout did say he brought lots of spices for his meal. I was disappointed there was no basil or paprika but I guess my canned chilli didn’t need all that much spicing up.

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Here’s how one scout made hash browns. He didn’t have a pan so cooked them up on a pie tin. Worked ok I suppose.

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Lundbreck Falls in the morning.

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OK, onto Turtle Mountain. Don’t believe any directions you get when trying to find the trail head. We drove around Blairmore about a half an hour asking everyone how to get to the starting point. Three different people finally got us where we needed to go. We were all impressed with how nice the people were around town. Even the big biker dude was cool and he gave us the best directions.

Here is a map of how to get there. Blairmore’s (really nice little town I’d like to explore more) main street is near the top of the picture. You drive in and take the first left over the railroad tracks. then follow the blue lines to where I indicate to park. It’s a back alley off of 135 street close to 15 Ave. Park your vehicle and walk down the hill and back up about half ways until you see all the painted rocks indicating the start of the trail head.

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After 5 mins everyone was asking if we were almost there. The hike is pretty well straight up. It took us about 2 or 2.5 hours to get to the top. We kept saying it must be just around the corner in hopes we could encourage everyone on.

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The view was pretty cool. Here’s Crowsnest mountain in the background.

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Another hiker brought is dog and we got really acquainted with Rosco. The hiker had his 10 year old son with him and they followed up behind us on the trail.

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Looks pretty content doesn’t he?

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Not sure what this is. Looks like everyone throws on their walking stick as they go by.

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At the top of Turtle Mountain...Almost. This is the North peak. camp 086 You can climb another little ways to the actual summit but if you notice there was a lot of snow and sketchy trails leading up to the other peak so we backed off. It probably would have been fine earlier in the year but Mid October weather was a bit chilly for us.

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Kind of intense to see the slide up close. The trail hikes right along where the mountain fell off. I was nervous the whole time one of the boys was going to act like an 11 year old scout and do something silly. Luckily they were all very well behaved.

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The white dot in the middle of the shot below just to the left of where the rocks end is the Frank Slide interpretive center.

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My “I’m the king of the world” pose. I’m quite a poser.

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A few of the scouts didn’t want to even get close to the edge. I don’t blame them. It was awesome to see but kind of freaky as well.

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That’s Blairmore below. I was pretty impressed we could do this hike. The hike is about 3000 feet pretty well straight up.

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More Frank Slide pictures.

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OK, I’m not that big of a poser compared to some.

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Highway 3 running through the valley.

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Greg Duchscherer, your mark is still at the top. I’m wondering what kind of paint was used to still be there since 1982. I guess he wanted to make sure he never had to do this hike again.camp 100

Yoga on the mountain.

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After looking back up to where we climbed to it was a great feeling to see how much you can accomplish if you put your mind to it

The ride home was a delight. I was wondering why it was so quite when I looked back and saw this funny sight. I guess you can wear out an 11 year old scout.

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All in all it was a great trip. I would recommend the hike to any scouting troop. There are many small peaks up to the top so if you decide enough is enough there can be good turning back points all up the trail. The final stretch isn’t for the little ones. I think we were on the edge of being just able to make it. One scout just turned 11 a few weeks ago so this was his first time on any trip like this. He made it up and down with a bit of encouragement even if a few spots were a little iffy.

Good job boys.